Maintenance, ease of use
The suspension has grease zerks on it, which is a good thing. The oil filter is a spin on type, but a shield has to be removed from the underside to get to it. The crankcase dipstick is easily accessible under the box.
This machine was equipped with a winch. I have never had a winch, but this came in very handy when stretching wire for fence installation. Since it had a winch, it also had additional lighting. That was nice at harvest for nighttime repairs, and there were more options for lighting. I think this additional lighting would be nice at calving time. All the lighting controls are easily accessible and conveniently located on the dash of the Gator. The 4-wd switch also is located on the dash. I only used it one time, but that one time I really needed it. All I had to do was flip the switch and I was able to crawl out of the situation I had encountered.
The Gator is in need of some type of downhill braking, as it tends to freewheel when going down a hill if your foot is off the gas pedal. Another consideration would be to have a transmission option that would let you be able to tow the vehicle behind a tractor to use as your ride home once you were in the field. With the carrying capacity and travel speed, it has the ability to be a mini service vehicle. It also is small enough to fit into a fifth-wheel-type livestock trailer to take with when rounding up cattle.
Overall, I had a good experience with the 825i John Deere Gator and found it interesting to compare it to the competitive model that I already own. My final thought: With a list price of around $11,199, one has to consider if the handiness and agility of this machine makes it a better buy than a used pickup truck.
For more information, visit www.johndeere.com/gator.